11 Jul, 2024 @ 15:44
1 min read

Spain’s police ‘searched for information about Podemos politicians’ nearly 7,000 times as part of so-called ‘dirty war’ against leftist party under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

Pablo Iglesias, Alberto Garzón Y Miren Gorrotxategi En El Acto De Unidas Podemos Para Las Elecciones Vascas En Bilbao
Pablo Iglesias in the act of Unidas Podemos for the Basque elections in Bilbao, Spain, on July 6, 2020. (Photo by Jon Imanol Reino/NurPhoto)

OFFICERS from Spain’s Policia Nacional searched for information about politicians from Podemos some 6,903 times as part of a so-called ‘dirty war’ against the new leftist party back in 2016 and 2017.

That’s according to a report in Spanish daily El Pais, which has had access to documentation sent by the force to the national High Court, which is investigating the police’s actions during this period. 

At the time, the government was in the hands of the conservative Partido Popular (PP), and led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. 

The PP is alleged to have carried out a campaign of espionage against Podemos, which was led by former deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias and was one of several new groupings – including centre-right Ciudadanos – who shook up Spain’s previous two-party system of the Socialists and the PP. 

Read more: Ex-darling of the left in Spain Pablo Iglesias prepares to open a bar in Madrid after leaving the world of politics

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez with then-Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias.

A High Court judge began investigating the allegations in February of this year after Podemos filed a lawsuit claiming to have been victims of both the Policia Nacional and the Interior Ministry. 

According to WhatsApp messages that were used as evidence in a separate corruption case, the deputy head of the Interior Ministry at the time, Francisco Martinez, called on a police chief to dig up information that would damage the reputation of the Podemos deputies who had won seats in the elections in December 2015. 

The 6,903 searches about the politicians were made in Interior Ministry databases. 

Pablo Iglesias reacted to the news by calling for police chiefs to face justice.

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Former PP Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Cordon Press.
Cordon Press

“It would strengthen our democracy if those police officers ended up in prison,” said Iglesias, 45, who is now a full-time television presenter and director of the Canal RED network. 

Podemos burst onto the political scene in 2014 when it won representation in the European elections running on a platform of anti-corruption and change. 

The party eventually ended up as the junior partner in a Socialist-led coalition government formed in 2020, but since then has lost support at the ballot box. 

It was absorbed into the leftist alliance Sumar in 2023, but its four deputies broke away from the group after disagreements when Sumar formed a new coalition government with the Socialists late last year. 

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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